The Many Needs For Visual Guidance

TeeJet Matrix Pro GPS Guidance System

On the surface, it seems like a fairly simple question: What’s new with visual guidance systems? However, according to Mike Olson, North American sales manager for Ag Leader Technology, a completely thorough answer depends upon a number of factors. “In today’s agricultural world, the concept of visual guidance can mean different things to different users, depending on what they are using the systems for and how detailed they are,” says Olson. “The short answer is ‘lots.’”

At one extreme are those users who want visual guidance systems to simply serve as “an extra set of eyes” in the field. “Even today, there are still a lot of people in agriculture that are just getting into the whole visual guidance arena,” he says. “And this group is still learning how to adopt the technology to what they want to accomplish in the field.”

Adds Ryan Molitor, marketing supervisor, Applied Technology Division for Raven Industries, this group of users have to be taught that visual guidance isn’t that complicated to implement into their operations. “There are still many folks out there in the market that haven’t adopted visual guidance systems into their businesses because they have a perception — right or wrong — that there is too much complexity involved to get them to work properly,” says Molitor. “Their thinking seems to be that they don’t have enough acres to justify the cost.”

For this crowd, Raven offers its Cruizer II unit as an option. Built with a color touchscreen display, Cruizer II gives users a downfield three-dimensional (3D) perspective to check coverage and field lines. “Cruizer II is simple to use and offers users a quick payback,” says Molitor. “But the unit is versatile enough that users can eventually add more sophisticated features as they get more comfortable with the technology. This includes options for boom section control and automatic steering.”

Simple Needs

Ag Leader’s Olson says his company takes a similar approach with early adopters. “We tell these users that there is a lot more to precision farming than just the visual guidance part of it,” he says. “So we advise them to find a system that is simple to use at first, but offers some kind of expandability as their need for more sophisticated abilities grow.”

To these users, Ag Leader has a pair of products — the Versa and Integra display. The Versa display has a broad range of features, says Dave King, marketing manager, including guidance/steering, planter control, application control and yield monitoring standard. More sophisticated options such as autoswath and boom height control can be unlocked as needed.

“But if the user wants to upgrade to the Integra, it’s as easy as disconnecting the Versa and plugging in the Integra,” says King. “All connections are the same between the displays and file formats data can be transferred between the displays with a USB drive. There is no need to load the files into an external software package.”

TeeJet Technologies has a similar set-up with its Matrix Pro Guidance system when it comes to users. Accord­ing to Dave Brackmann, technical support specialist, the Matrix Pro is easy to use on the most basic level, but can be upgraded to run the company’s Field Pilot and BoomPilot options “easily.”

Jeff Farrar, director of marketing for Hemisphere GPS, agrees that this “adaptability approach” is a great way to introduce users to the concept of visual guidance systems without overwhelming them with technology jargon. “There are still smaller users out there that just want some visual guidance and nothing more for the time being,” says Farrar. “We are happy to help these folks find what they need, such as our Outback STS and S3 systems. But we also suggest to them that they purchase a system that allows them to make some upgrades so they have something to build upon in the future.”

The Data Quest

On the other end of the scale of visual guidance users are those that have already gotten pretty familiar with the technology side of things and are now looking to taking some “next steps” in their operations. “Let’s face it — this used to be a very hardware-driven business not too many years ago,” says Randy Wulf, regional sales manager, South-Central U.S. for Trimble. “Now, however, we are moving into more software-driven options, particularly for improved data management. These customers are very used to the technology out in the market, but now they want to be able to use it more effectively to boost their bottom lines.”

To take advantage of this trend, Trimble offers its Connected Farm system. An integrated operations management solution that combines industry-leading hardware and software to increase efficiency and effectiveness for today’s farming business, Connected Farm enables “improved management of farming operations between the field and office through wireless communication from handheld-to-office, vehicle-to-office, and now vehicle-to-vehicle,” says Wulf. “The newly released Vehicle Sync option enables vehicle-to-vehicle communication between operators in the same field, allowing them to share coverage maps, A/B guidance lines and other pertinent field data, saving time.”

Marty Cook, North American sales manager for Topcon, agrees that this need for “better data management” is a key market driver. “The biggest trend you will see in the visual guidance market in 2012 is the desire for better data transfer abilities from the systems,” says Cook. “How users out there put this together and make it work for them will be a big push this year.”

To this end, Topcon offers its X30 console as part of its System 350 as an option. The console is equipped with ISO functionality so it can “plug-and-play” with any ISO compatible implements. Last November, the company added the ability for the X30 to interface with NORAC’s boom leveling system via ISO.

Then, adds Cook, there is the X30’s large 12.1-inch touchscreen display. “This features multi-touch, drop-and-drag capabilities for the user,” he says. “In this sense, it’s a lot like another popular piece of technology out in the market today, the iPad.”

Too Much Data

However, cautions Harlan Little, business manager for Leica Geosystems, just collecting massive amounts of data isn’t what more users should be looking to do with their visual guidance systems. “I’ve never seen answers magically fall out of heaps of data,” says Little. “Lots and lots of data collection can lead to confusion for the user. They first need to ask some good questions before digging into their data management plans. I would suggest trying to find answers to a top two or three questions, not trying to figure out a top 20.”

For these users, Leica has the mojo3D guidance display. “The Leica mojo3D guidance display is a smarter precision guidance system, loaded with industry leading advances designed to help save time and money,” says Little. “It has multiple upgrade options so it can be customized to fit a user’s individual needs.”

Leave a Reply

Precision Ag Stories

Farmobile Dashboard Heat Map
Precision AgFarmobile’s EFR Dashboard Brings Real-Time Metrics To The Coffee Table
January 1, 2017
Farmobile is one of many data start-ups that we’ve been closely observing with a sense of keen curiosity since they Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
AGCO AgControl system
Precision AgPrecision Ag Technology: Rate Control For The Times
November 28, 2016
It’s not surprising that the need for more economical, effective application is driving the demand for the latest rate controllers Read More
Trending Articles
AgriSync
Matt Hopkins17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
December 9, 2016
Ag professionals are working smarter, not harder, than ever before. Smart farming technologies have enabled them to reduce costs, maximize Read More
R4023 Sprayer, John Deere
CropLife 100Ag Retail Equipment Report: The Green Party Continues
December 7, 2016
In the annual race for sales in the ag retail equipment marketplace, the color schemes for participants are a little Read More
Mike Stern
Precision AgClimate Corp. CEO Talks Retailer Support For Digital Ag
December 1, 2016
CropLife Magazine’s sister publication, AgriBusiness Global, recently sat down with Mike Stern, CEO of The Climate Corp., following the Monsanto subsidiary’s Read More
Precision AgTrimble Debuts End-to-End FMIS Platform
November 28, 2016
October’s inaugural PrecisionAg Vision Conference left this author with many thoughts and things to ponder in the coming months. Probably Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100The 2016 CropLife 100 Report: Reviewing The Many Bulls And Bears Impacting This Year’s Marketplace
November 28, 2016
For virtually all of 2016, the nation was wholly focused on the big Presidential election. Some folks aligned themselves with Read More
Monsanto sign
Crop InputsMissouri Governor Meets With Bayer CEO To Discuss Monsanto Merger
November 21, 2016
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon visited Bayer AG global headquarters in Leverkusen, Germany, on November 18 to discuss the proposed Bayer-Monsanto Read More
Latest News
Eric SfiligojNo Alternative Facts: Dicamba Cropping System Applicato…
January 23, 2017
During President Donald Trump’s inauguration, much fuss was made over the use of the term “alternative facts” vs. some of Read More
Young Corn Plants
ManagementTimac Agro USA Acquires Michigan Ag Retailer
January 20, 2017
Timac Agro USA, an agriculture supply company specializing in high-efficiency plant and animal nutrition products, has acquired St. Louis,MI-based A&E Ag, Read More
Soybean field
Crop InputsNufarm Teams Up With John Deere Financial
January 19, 2017
Nufarm and John Deere Financial have teamed up to help farmers grow a better tomorrow. This program helps make purchases Read More
Sonny Perdue
LegislationTrump Formally Picks Perdue As Agriculture Secretary
January 19, 2017
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump officially announced Sonny Perdue as his choice for secretary of agriculture on Thursday, selecting a former Read More
ManagementPresident Trump, Wisconsin Review, and a Dow-DuPont Upd…
January 18, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj reflect on a new administration, a recent winter show, and crop protection company mergers. Read More
Industry NewsBayer, MS Technologies Get China Approval For Balance G…
January 18, 2017
MS Technologies and Bayer have received import approval from China for Balance GT soybeans. The new Balance GT Soybean Performance Read More
Werner Baumann, Bayer AG, and Hugh Grant, Monsanto
Industry NewsReport: Monsanto, Bayer CEOs Among Latest to Make Trump…
January 18, 2017
The chief executive officers of German chemical giant Bayer AG and U.S. seed behemoth Monsanto, Werner Baumann and Hugh Grant, Read More
Giant Ragweed
HerbicidesStudy: Focusing On Weed Seedbank Can Help Manage Herbic…
January 18, 2017
Researchers writing in the latest issue of the journal Weed Science provide important insights on the control of herbicide-resistant giant Read More
Management3 Financial Trends To Watch In Agriculture
January 17, 2017
I recently had the opportunity to attend a meeting of credit managers for Midwest ag supply and input companies, in part Read More
Andersons Retail Store
CropLife 100The Andersons To Close All Retail Stores; Shutdown Does…
January 16, 2017
In a stunning announcement to the Toledo area, The Andersons Inc. said on Sunday that it would close its two Read More
Trimble TMX-2050 In-Cab Display
Eric SfiligojPrecision To Lead Agriculture In 2017?
January 16, 2017
Another new year is upon us! And I’m certain I speak for many in the agricultural world when I say Read More
Corn
Eric SfiligojThe Mood From Madison? In A Holding Pattern
January 16, 2017
Last week, I had the chance to attend the annual Wisconsin AgriBusiness Classic show in Madison, WI. It’s been a Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsAccenture Helps Syngenta Transform Its Global Logistics
January 13, 2017
Syngenta, a leading agriculture company, has collaborated with Accenture to design and implement a new digital logistics operating model across Read More
Fall Creek Seth Harden The Nature Conservancy
StewardshipLocal Farmers’ Watershed Initiative: Continuous Improve…
January 13, 2017
The goal in the Big Pine Watershed Project is to more intentionally do what local farmers and responsible ag retailers Read More
HerbicidesEPA Expands Enlist Duo Herbicide Registration To 34 Sta…
January 13, 2017
The U.S. EPA has expanded the geography for application of Enlist Duo herbicide from 15 to 34 states. This means Read More
Olson Ag Enterprise
CropLife 100Wilbur-Ellis Acquires Nebraska Seed Retailer
January 13, 2017
Wilbur-Ellis’ Agribusiness, a recognized leader in precision agriculture technology and the distribution and marketing of plant protection, seed and nutritional Read More
ManagementDeere-Precision Planting Update and the Ag Secretary Wa…
January 12, 2017
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj provide the latest on the court date for John Deere/Precision Planting and the quest Read More
Monsanto sign
Seed/BiotechMonsanto, NRGene Form Agreement For Big Data Genomic An…
January 12, 2017
Monsanto Co. and NRGene have announced that the companies have reached a non-exclusive, multi-year global licensing agreement on NRGene’s genome-analysis Read More